CHESTNUT HILL - The opportunities were there for Boston College. Plenty of chances to build a lead, many spots to come up big on defense. Yet for the third week in a row, the Eagles couldn't get their act together.
In this week's version, Nate Freese missed an extra point and then hit the left post from 23 yards out with the Eagles trailing by one, handing the Duke Blue Devils their first win of the season, 20-19, and giving BC its third straight loss.
"It's disappointing," said Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani. "I think our guys fought hard again, but we didn't make enough plays. We had a chance to make some plays. We left some of them out there, both offensively and defensively, as well as kicking."
BC fell to 0-3 and 0-1 in the ACC, and its chances at earning a bowl bid took a serious hit with the loss. The Eagles had 59 total plays for 328 yards but surrendered 465 yards on 81 plays to Duke.
"We didn't get some stops when we needed it," Spaziani said. "We got some at the end, but too little, too late."
The Eagles jumped out to a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter after Chase Rettig (17-for-33, 247 yards, TD) found Tahj Kimble (three catches, 53 yards) for a 31-yard touchdown on a screen pass to put BC up 7-0 with 5:57 left. Then, Freese made a 43-yard field goal with 10:44 to go in the half, giving the Eagles a 10-point cushion.
Sean Renfree (40-for-52, 359, 2 TD) connected with Conner Vernon (six catches, 116 yards, TD) for a 53-yard touchdown with 8:31 remaining in the half, cutting the Eagles' lead to three.
Freese made another field goal, this time from 47 yards out, to give BC a 13-7 lead with 4:03 left before halftime and Andre Williams scored on a seven yard touchdown run (set up by a 57-yard pass from Rettig to Colin Larmond Jr.), but Freese missed the extra point, giving BC a 19-7 advantage.
It was all Duke for the rest of the game, as Vernon caught a 21-yard pass from Renfree for a touchdown with 30 seconds left in the third quarter, cutting Duke's deficit to 19-14. Renfree rushed in for a score with 9:57 left in the fourth quarter, giving the Blue Devils their first and only lead of the game.
Boston College continues its stretch of three straight home games, with the Eagles facing in-state rival UMass-Amherst next weekend. After that, BC resumes its ACC schedule with a home date with Wake Forest.
"These are young players, there's a lot of young guys there," Spaziani said. "They're going to have to be led and understand the way they have to do it and how we have to compartmentalize things. Having said that, I think they'll be fine."
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